Modify the Spare tire key

    spare hoist & key

    This is our spare tire hoist removed from truck. Factory stuck a 'key' into the hoist slot, another matching key is stuck on end of jack handle to lower/raise spare.

    The key lives in glove box. Similar to what's used on wheel lock. Junk and a problem waiting to happen. Interfacing random squiggly star pattern, one side female (shown in pic above) one side male/ About 1/16" engagement. ANY debris key won't engage, loose the key, or any other issues you cant drop spare. The 'keys' aren't that easy to come by and theres several different ones,17-20. If you have yours and still have the bag with the code card-Write those numbers down in owners manual. Ours Ford factory key was thru Mcgard.com. Good luck if you need one.

    Other than that I cant help- what this is about is modifying the key assembly. Welding the male & female sides together. So spare retrieval no longer relies on the star lock but the end that goes into hoist. Once the 'key' is removed from hoist- the end of rod 'will' fit the hole in hoist- but its a little loose, but many leave it at that as the rod also hooks into your stock jack.

    But this is what I did & why.
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    What started all this was a post on RV.net that led to me recalling last time I was in the glove box I didn't see the key. Having jogged my memory I decided I should locate since I was thinking about it. 2 hours later I found it. under console wedged against seat bracket. Whew! Glad I haven't needed to access spare on the road... good grief. Without key ..
    I then recalled why it wasn't in glove box. Last time I accessed the spare I could barely get key to engage. So I laid key in bag on seat to remind to address..later. Well the key disappeared and I simply forgot about it like 2-3 years ago..

    So finding the key I stuck on the jack handle and tried to lower spare to look at the hoist see what the problem was. Well zero nada. Key is not engaging even a little bit-crap now what. Got on line-some suggesting removing the guide tube would allow access to the key, cleaning if its debris. Or simply removing the key part that's stuck in the hoist and manually let spare down-then fix. Not all that easy with spare up there but better than cutting the cable, actually I don't know if I could. Maybe a cut off wheel probably ruin the piece the lifts tire. Another suggestion was to lightly tap rod-if its sand etc it sometime will grab. That's easy

    So I lightly tap -nope no luck- its not even trying. Giving up I removed rod- the key didn't come out. It stayed inside the guide tube, Awesome!
    . So I proceeded to let the air out of tire so I could move it around a bit getting access to guide tube. Was able to remove the guide tube (& key) exposing the lock on hoist. Stuck the key on hoist-using a screwdriver I lowered the tire. This is never going to happen again.

    Unbolted the hoist and took to shop.

    And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is the Why.

    Now the what..

    spare hoist & key

    Here I popped the female side of the lock out of hoist, its held in place by a small captured washer. Simply pops out with a screw driver exposing the slot in hoist that normally jack handle would insert (and will).

    spare hoist & key

    My problem is 2fold. Though there was what looked like a small piece of dried tar, keeping the keys from engaging I was able to clean. But I also have an alignment issue. My tire hoist is rotated so I can access from wheel well (due to inaccessible at rear with camper See spare tire hoist page ). However though I tried to realign hoist a bit, the rod still, even with guide wants to jump to side, key didn't set square to face of lock. That's what happened when I tried to tap in, becuase it's not lined up, easier for it to slide to side. So I'll tack weld the rod within the hole in key. It will be permanently attached but allow free movement of key to self align.Then Im welding the removed female side to the male key. Using the stub that previously was in hoist as the new 'key'. After welding the keys up Ill also grind the end round.

    spare hoist & key

    Ready for welding. Spun the washer that captured lock in hoist on grinder-remainder will just melt in when welded.

    spare hoist & key

    Welded and ground out. The tack really looks worse in the picture, Its not piled up like it looks? Regardless, keeps rod attached-cant be removed but free rotation of key on rod. Also filed the edges of hole in hoist. With the rounded end on new key allows it to funnel into hoist slot. "Wobble" key. Reinstalled hoist & guide tube in truck. Used 'new' key to lift spare back up. Nice. Works really well.

    spare hoist & key

    No more losing key, no issues with the 'lock'. Course I had to trim the holder a bit for extende rod. Also, I still carry the factory jack, though I don't use on truck comes in handy on trailer etc cause factory jack is pretty short. The slot in jack is similar to whats in the hoist, however its just a wee bit smaller and it accepted the rod without key. I just filed out the hole a bit bigger so new key will also fit it.

    Bottom line is though I finally addressed-it was all by happenstance & luck. If the RV.net thread I was reading hadn't jogged my memory and caused me to go find the key, remember there was a problem..don't know- I would have discovered all this on the road somewhere. WOW. back to top

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